Undiscovered New Paltz: Scarborough Fare

The inside of the store may seem small, but it holds a lot of merchandise. Photo by Victoria Morrell.

How much time do you really spend thinking about olive oil? For some people it’s just a basic cooking necessity that can be bought at any supermarket, but for others olive oil is a big deal.

If you’re the type of person who compares olive oil to fine wines or you just really appreciate food, then there’s a place for you only steps from Main Street. Tucked away in a small cottage, Scarborough Fare is a gourmet specialty shop that sells unique olive oils straight from the tap.

Mother-son duo Donna and Cory Wirthmann opened the shop in New Paltz two years ago. Cory, a self-proclaimed “foodie” and biology major at SUNY New Paltz had the idea of opening a store that would bring different luxury food items all together under one roof. He brought his idea to his business savvy mother and Scarborough Fare was born.

“We wanted to create a place where people could find high quality food items in a store that has an entertaining attitude,” Cory said.

The shop carries everything from offbeat teas and coffee to cheeses, freshly made bread, chocolate bars, and of course, olive oils. Brought in from private buyers and importers, the olive oils vary in flavors from garlic to pomegranate and come to the shop from farms all over the world, including parts of South America and Italy.

Inside it’s warm like the Mediterranean, a welcome contrast to the cold Hudson Valley winter. Colorful paintings of Tuscan landscapes cover the walls. Giant kegs of oil stand right in the middle of the store.

Not sure what specialty oil to buy? Ask to do a free taste test sans bread, which guarantees that you taste the oil, and only the oil. Once you’ve made a decision, you can either buy a bottle there, or ask to fill one you’ve brought from home. Oil is sold by the ounce. That’s part of the Scarborough Fare experience: a self-sustainable way to buy what you need.

“A lot of college kids come here and have us fill up bottles at their parents’ request,” Cory said. “It’s sort of funny. These students don’t always know what their parents are asking for, but once they’ve checked it out they start buying oil for themselves too.”

The passion the Wirthmann’s have for finer foods has helped expand their business to a second location in Beacon, N.Y.

Visit their website at scarboroughfarenp.com or stop by their New Paltz location, 8 N. Front St., or their Beacon shop, 257 Main St.


Victoria Morrell

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